Who do they think they're they fooling with the label "action adventure game?" There's hardly any action, and the adventure is as exciting as a tour of garage sales with someone who must pick up and play with every item not nailed down. Which is exactly like playing an action adventure game.
Of course, there are some great examples of action adventure games. We all have our favorites, and one of mine is Syberia, which is almost a decade old. It still holds up today. Unfortunately, most games in this genre contain little more than a variation on a theme, stuffed into a template.
A lot of the action adventure games suffer from a lack of themed cohesion. All elements of the game should relate in some way; arbitrary puzzles and trial and error does not make for good gameplay. You should be able to make your way through such a game by deducing the clues. This information should help you solve puzzles and give you direction. I don't want to have what little action there is come to a screeching halt because I don't know where to go, or what item to pick up and how to use it. Things have to make sense. Many times I've stumbled on the solution (or cheated), and even then, I couldn't see how I could possibly have figured it out with the information available. These aren't psychic adventure games; but I can foresee bankruptcy in some developer's future.
Then there's what I like to call "the parallel universe effect." It's where you inadvertently toggle between two environments. "Inadvertently" is the key word, since it's not at all what you want to be doing. Sometimes your character gets stuck in this transition spot where Ctrl+Alt+Del is the only escape. Other times you will find yourself at the threshold of two environments, trying to move your character in order to solve a puzzle, but not as to trigger the transition. It's like getting off the escalator and stepping on to the de-escalator over and over. This is especially fun if the game has long load times.
Stories can be important, but not at the expense of the gameplay. I'm playing a video game, not reading a novel. If I really wanted to do a lot of reading I would have paid more attention in English class. And look at you; you're almost at the end of this article. What's up with that? You're obviously looking for some kind of payout here. Or is it because you share my grief and don't want to feel alone anymore? It can be lonely being a loser, so I'm told.
We can overlook poor graphics, stiff animation, awful dialogue, hackneyed stories, and a multitude of other sins if a game is fun. It simply must engage our imaginations from start to finish. We don't want to detect a formula. We don't want trial and error or frustrating technical glitches. Remember, we are attempting to escape from real life here. If I wanted to experience anguish, agony, insufferable boredom, redundancy, unoriginality, and lame stories, I would get myself a girlfriend.
By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central. This week's is also purely a work of fiction*